Historical Sketch of The New Age,
Founded, June 1912:
10 Years of Struggle for the
Emancipation of the Masses
by Robert Wark
Formerly Organizer of Socialist Party
Published in The New Age [Buffalo], vol. 11, whole no. 516 (July 13, 1922), pp. 1, 10.
As we pause on the threshold of our eleventh year, after having
passed successfully through ten hard years of struggle, it is fitting that
we should review the trials and tribula-
tions through which we have passed in
attaining such remarkable success.
The New Age has always been an in-
spired paper. The Buffalo Socialist, a pio-
neer newspaper whose interests were de-
voted to spreading the doctrines of So-
cialism, was an inspired paper. Without
an inspiration this paper would never
have lived through the difficulties that
beset us. Without the big idea ever ahead
of us we never could have braved defeat
after defeat only to achieve VICTORY
To those who devoted their time and efforts in the early days we
are especially indebted. Those loyal comrades whose broad vision
made possible this paper are indeed to be congratulated.
The first issue of the Buffalo Socialist, as our paper was then
called, appeared June 6th, 1912, and if you will refer to your files you
will see the names of those who were farsighted enough to pledge
themselves to the successful operation of such an enterprise. The Buf-
falo Socialist Publishing Company was organized with the following
officers: president, Martin B. Heisler; treasurer, Frank Ehrenfried;
secretary and editor, Henry Tutthill; business manager, Stephen J.
It is to Stephen J. Mahoney that we owe a never ending debt.
Steve was the first business manager of Buffalo's Socialist paper. It was
he who first attempted to secure advertising for our paper. It was he
who had to overcome the hardest obstacles.
And through the efforts of Stephen J. Mahoney we have reached
the point where we are now celebrating our Anniversary of Triumph.
But where is Steve Mahoney? Steve, who was beloved by all, has
passed away 1 Steve gave his life so that you and I and all the rest
might have a Socialist paper; that we might enjoy a few of the liber-
ties that every man is entitled to.
As our new enterprise progressed it became evident that we wold
need more than the small amount of money secured from subscribers
and advertisers to carry on this great work. What should we do?
Where could we go for money? No one seemed to know. Then, as
from out of the sky, came the good news. The Woman's Club of Local
Buffalo, Socialist Party, would hold a fair to raise money for the Buf-
falo Socialist. Was it a success? Ask anyone who was there. It was the
successful beginning of a series of annual fairs that contributed so
much to the income and enabled us to tide over those lean years.
Such women as Mrs. Martha Klein, Mrs. Charles Ball, Sr., Mrs.
Theresa Colburn, Mrs. Henry Tutthill, Mrs. Dora B. Foster, Mrs.
Leonard Perry, Mrs. Malloy, Mrs. Tom Pholman, Mrs. Henry Ban-
gert, Mrs. Frank Hill, Mrs. A. Conn, and Mrs. Ed Simons and many
other loyal comrades were the bulwarks of our paper at that time.
Much credit is also due to the first Board of Directors of the Buf-
falo Socialist Publishing Company for their untiring efforts in behalf
of the paper.
During the National Lyceum Lecture Courses that were held dur-
ing the winter months of those first years the Buffalo Socialist was a
wonderful help in keeping folks posted on what was going on.
The year of 1 9 1 3 saw the young people of Buffalo more and more
anxious to do something for the Socialist movement and with the
help of the Buffalo Socialist and the local organization of the Socialist
Party a Young People's Socialist League was formed.
The part played by the Socialist paper in the first street car strike
of Buffalo will long be remembered. It was at the Fred D. Warren
Stephen J. Mahoney died in February 1920.
meeting on April 5th, 1913, that the strike was announced and on
Sunday, April 6th, 1913, not a car was running in this great city of
At that time Frank Cattell was business manager of the Buffalo
Socialist and it is well known by all that it was due to the efforts of
Cattell and the local comrades that William B. Fitzgerald of the
Amalgamated was able to effect an organization in the city of Buffalo.
Four daily papers were issued by the Buffalo Socialist during the street
car strike and the public was kept informed at all times of the truth in
Following hot upon the street car strike was the big mass meeting
held by the department store clerks of Buffalo. The Buffalo Socialist
had exposed the inhuman treatment accorded these workers and they
had determined to call a meeting. The meeting was a huge success.
The strike of the department store clerks was a fact. May 1st to 10th
 the strike continued and the Buffalo Socialist issued a daily
paper every day during that time. The machinists' and teamsters'
strikes were also called at that time and the Buffalo Socialist loyally
supported those protests against intolerable conditions and low
It was in August 1913 that two tired, dusty men with a covered
wagon and a team of horses pulled up in front of Socialist headquar-
ters. To look at them, and forget the surroundings, would have
brought you back to the olden days when men traveled by caravan —
and a caravan it was. Herbst and Edward Lindgren of New York City
were en route from coast to coast and stopped off at Buffalo to cheer
us up and be cheered themselves. What a time we gave them. Rousing
meetings every night. We gave them a chance to rest themselves and
their animals and start on their journey fresh and filled with new en-
About this time the Buffalo Socialist devoted a great deal of space
to showing up the fake charitable institutions of Buffalo. The Husted
mill disaster relief fund was but one of these affairs where the workers
were duped into giving money to local newspapers. Where the money
went was never known, but it is a fact that a careful checking up of all
money spent for charity among the sufferers proved that someone in
connection with the fund was not spending the money for purposes
that it was intended. Our attention was then called to the rottenness
that existed in the Central Labor Council of Buffalo. Coleman and
his gang of leeches were bleeding the workers to death. Time after
time the organized workers had their cause lost by this man's doubtful
leadership and tactics and his greedy henchmen. They were labor fa-
kirs in every sense of the word. But their days were numbered. The
Buffalo Socialist started after them. We put up a good fight and the
charter was withdrawn by the American Federation of Labor and a
new council was organized with clean, honest workers as officials.
Hand in hand with these victories came the determination of the
capitalists that free speech would not be allowed in Buffalo. Local So-
cialists were equally as determined that free speech should live. The
crisis was on Friday October 3rd . The free speech fight of our
dreams became a fact. The mounted cops were called out and the pa-
trol wagons backed up at Lafayette Square. Old-time Russia in Amer-
ica was a reality. The despotism of the Tsar was no worse than the at-
tempted tyranny of the Buffalo capitalists and their henchmen, the
chief of police and the mayor. Our comrades were determined that
they would go to jail rather than submit to the will of tyrants, and go
to jail they did.... 2
But listen! What do we hear? It is the beat of drums and the mu-
sic of bands. The war is on us. The wars that we dreamed could never
come had finally enveloped us in their midst. What were we going to
do? We knew. We were determined. We remained loyal Socialists and
kept up the publication of our weekly paper. We flayed the war lords
throughout the year of 1914 but to no avail. The war was on us.
In June 1914 we were fortunate in securing the services of Max
Sherover as editor and business manager and at his suggestion decided
to change the name of the paper to The New Age. In February 1915
the name was changed and has remained to this day.
It was at this time that the business management of the Buffalo
Socialist was turned over to Ernest C. Bautz. Ernest was a product of
the Young People's Socialist League and until he left Buffalo was very
successful as business manager of our paper.
Back in the days when gasoline sold for fifteen cents a gallon (yes,
it did) we were fighting for woman suffrage and our paper was in-
strumental in changing the opinions of many Buffalo people.
2 An accompanying photo notes that those arrested in the free speech fight included Wil-
liam Francis Barnard, Frank Cattell, Marie Gnoss, Samuel Leary, G. Lesch, Stephen J.
Mahoney, Daniel A. Niel, Patrick O'Brien, Joseph Pelton, Mr. and Mrs. Max Sherover, and
In 1916 we were again confronted by a machinists' strike but we
loyally stuck to the machinists and aided them to get what they were
Then came Billy Sunday — Billy Blatant, Billy the Chosen One,
Billy the Apostle. What fun we had. They were the happy days. From
December 1916 to February 1917 we were amused daily. We were
called everything from a pink-eyed tortoise to a spineless jellyfish by
Billy. But we are here, and where is Billy? We stuck. Billy drifted.
Billy talks and then beats it to another city. We talk and stick to face
the music. We make sure we are right and then go ahead. Billy knows
he's wrong, that's why he runs away.
How we fought against conscription is known to all. But it
availed us nothing. The old men of America wanted to see how well
their sons could fight, so June 5th, 1917, called them to the colors.
Many of them left, never to return. Many fathers who were proud of
their loyal sons are now mourning for sons who will never help them
again. Fighting by proxy does not pay.
The year of 1917 was a busy one. With the revolution in Russia,
the Franklin P. Brill campaign in Buffalo, and Hattie Krueger, Social-
ist and suffrage worker, languishing in a cell in Washington, we had
news for our readers every week. In 1918 came the coal shortage that
had been predicted by The New Age. At that time Franklin P. Brill was
editor of the paper and pointed out time after time that there was no
real shortage but that coal was being gambled in so that the rich
might grow warmer and richer and the poor might get colder and
It was at this time that we purchased a complete printing plant
and under the able management of Charles Wilhelm have since been
able to maintain a more independent position.
Our Greatest Battle.
Then came the days of oppression. Brill and Milliken were edit-
ing The New Age. Our second-class mail privileges were withdrawn.
Brill made a trip to Washington to protest but to no avail. The
authorities had decided to crush us. They were firm in this decision,
but they did not succeed. Instead of crushing us they only made us
stick together more strongly than ever. Debs was arrested and sen-
tenced to prison for 10 years and Kate Richards O'Hare went down
for 5 years. The New Age took up the fight and was among those who
succeeded in finally securing the release of our beloved Gene and
Another street car strike occurred in 1918 and again The New Age
was on the job backing up the men in their demands and keeping
Buffalo citizens informed of he truth of the situation. The kept press
of Buffalo was filling the people with lies. The New Age alone fought
the battles of the workers and kept Buffalo alive and awake to the real
truth in the matter.
March 1919 brought unemployment and misery to many. Thou-
sands were out of work and it was Martin B. Heisler, then organizer
of the local Socialist Party, who organized an unemployed parade and
marched to the City Hall demanding a hearing. Heisler was later ar-
rested on trumped up charges and sentenced to a year in jail. Local
attorneys who were prominent defended Heisler and had the case set
aside. This year gave us our first sight of sawed-off shotguns. Buffalo
police were getting ready for real murder. They couldn't shoot enough
unemployed with revolvers so they were given sawed-off shotguns.
Chief Higgins and his Sawed-off Squad were on the job. This was the
beginning of days of fun. The city-owned halls were then denied us.
Time after time when we could have brought a first-class speaker of
national repute to this city we were unable to get any of the large halls
owned by the city of Buffalo. Buffalo officials wee firm. They had re-
ceived orders from the Chamber of Commerce and they must abide
by such order. Those who elected them, financially, must be served —
and they were.
Following after this action came the ban on street meetings. The
mayor was sorry but he could not give us the street corners for our
meetings. Spineless Buck hemmed and hawed but was firm in his de-
cision that a bunch of "disloyal persons" like the Socialists could not
use the streets for meetings. The New Age took up the fight. "Six
Thousand Dollars for Free Speech and a Free Press" was our slogan
and we went out after money with which to fight the grafters of our
Buffalo Steal Plant.
Then came dissension within our ranks. The Lefts insisted on
splitting the party so we split. The New Age remained loyal to the or-
ganization. The New Age remained true to the principles upon which
it was founded and stood by the party that had made its life possible
and its years of victories a fact. The outcome can be seen. The Lefts
have agains split into a dozen different factions.
We were able, at this time, to secure the services of Robert Steiner
as editor of our paper. Steiner is known and loved by all. As a writer
of Socialist philosophy he was unequalled. He gave his services to our
paper and for some time was able to remain with us as editor.
Through the hard days of reorganization The New Age remained
loyal and in the campaign of 1919 was successful in electing to the
City Council an alleged Socialist by the name of Frank C. Perkins. It
was at this time that John H. Gibbons was elected Socialist Mayor of
the city of Lackawanna against the combined efforts of both parties,
who were backed by the Steel Trust.
In February 1920 Frank C. Perkins betrayed the Socialists and
openly denounced them. In spite of all that had been done by the
local organization and The New Age to give him publicity in what we
believed to be his sincere efforts to help the people, he decided against
us and for the Chamber of Commerce. What made Perkins decide
against the workers has never been made public but it is well known
in local political circles.
It was The New Age that pointed out the graft in the Park De-
partment in Buffalo. Year after year we have been fighting organized
graft of all kinds and you have but to look through the back issues of
our papers to find evidence that we have always maintained that Buf-
falo was suffering from a bunch of grafters who were bleeding the city
And now we are celebrating our victory.
Ten years is a long time, but to us who have fought it seems but a
day. We have kept at it day after day. Our only reward is the joy we
get out of doing what we know to be right.
Among those who have been keeping their shoulders to the wheel
and helping keep The New Age going by loyal, sincere efforts are: Ida
Francis King, Maud Keddy, E.O. Baum, Harvey Davidson, Charles
S. Leary Sam Leary, John J. Maier, B. Pumplieu, H. Booth, J.N.
Kohler, Fred Becker, Adam Schembs, Louis F. Rexin, R. Reid, A.C.
Voss, Jacob Wasser, Maurice Winegard, C. Kreuger, John Zabadeck,
G. Staebler, the Yokoms, Kohlers, Kolkman, Heisler, Wilhelm, Weiss,
Reynolds, Zella, Ball, Kelly, O'Brien, and our former comrads who
have since passed away, Tom Keddy, Bert Maxim, Mahoney
Such locals as Rochester, Jamestown, Dunkirk, Lockport, Syra-
cuse, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, and all the branches of Buffalo were
constantly supporting The New Age and its forerunner, the Buffalo
For several weeks James Battistroni, a veteran in the Socialist
movement, voluntarily edited The New Age. To him it was a labor of
love and all appreciated the sacrifice of time and money he made un-
til the board was able to secure the full-time services of Patrick Quin-
lan, the present editor. Because of his unique experience in the
movement at home and abroad, Quinlan has proved himself an excel-
lent editor, understanding fully the industrial and political situation
from the viewpoint of the worker. The fact that daily and weekly
newspapers all over the country are clipping articles appearing in The
New Age is proof that our editorship is in good hands.
The business management of the paper is under the direction of
Martin B. Heisler, who has shown by his untiring efforts the results
that can be obtained by a sincere belief in the ideals for which we
stand. A glance through the pages of any issue of The New Age will
testify to the ability of our present business manager.
And now we have achieved success. We have built up a circulation
of which we are proud. We are recognized as the best made-up Social-
ist weekly in America. We have grown slowly but surely. The fight is
still on. The battles before us will be just as hard as those through
which we have passed. We will keep up the fight. Our day is coming
and until it comes we will keep up our work of editing a paper that is
published in the interests of the working class, first, last, and all the
Edited with footnotes by Tim Davenport
1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR • February 2012 • Non-commercial reproduction permitted.